There is nothing worse than dealing with a fluid leak in your cooling system. Things get more challenging if the leak was internal, which requires very high repair costs.
Ignoring such a problem can result in a quick engine failure due to overheating. Therefore, if you noticed any sign of cooling system fluid, leak, you must stop driving your vehicle and get the problem repaired as soon as possible.
Since cooling system repair costs are not cheap, automotive experts came up with cheaper approaches that you can try before deciding to go the other round and have the vehicle repaired by a professional mechanic.
One of the most common leaks repairs is applying a “cooling system repair” product to your radiator to seal the inside and stop the leak.
The question remains, which cooling system repair should I choose?
In this article, we walk you through the top products you can use when dealing with cooling system leaks. We highlight the top pros and cons, along with the expected prices.
How does cooling system repair work?
In the past, people would freak out when seeing spots of coolant leaking from their vehicle and creating these puddles. This is because they know exactly that the problem is very serious; it costs a lot of money and cannot be ignored.
Thanks to the cooling system repair products, it is considered a fast and cheap way to fix cooling system leaks, especially in the head gasket, the hoses, and the radiator.
These products are made from certain chemicals that, when you pour it into the cooling system pipe, forms a substance that can seal any small holes within the part’s wall, something like a layer of coating.
While these products might be a great option, they are not recommended for long term repair for your vehicle’s coolant leaks. You can use it temporarily until you get the chance to visit the repair shop and have it fixed.
Bar’s cooling system repair instructions
Understanding how to apply the cooling system repair is a recommended skill for any driver who cares about maintaining and keeping their vehicles.
This section provides you with a quick step-by-step guide on how to apply a cooling system. For this example, we focus on the Bar’s cooling system repair instructions even though the same instructions should be valid to other similar products.
Choose your preferred cooling system repair product
There is a long list of cooling system repair products within the automotive market that you can choose from.
It is important to understand each product's different pros and cons to select the right one for you.
In this section, we cover the top-rated cooling system repair products along with their pros and cons.
- K-Seal Multi-Purpose One Step Permanent Coolant Leak Repair
As the name suggested, this product is very simple to use and can be applied directly to your hot or cold engine.
It doesn’t matter what type of antifreeze your system has as it mixes very well with all antifreeze in the industry.
You don’t need to flush it out of your cooling system, apply it, and leave it there.
Although this product is top-rated, several customers reported some drawbacks, including the high cost, potential clogging, and the possibility of future leaks.
- Bar’s Leaks Liquid Aluminum Stop Leak
Bar’s leak is one of the top names and probably the first result you will find when you search on Google for “cooling system repair.”
It is known for the ability to seal any material, including metal, aluminum, and plastic.
People even use it to repair their car’s leaks and repair other appliances at home.
Once you add this product to your cooling system, you don’t need to flush it out, and you can leave it there, similar to the K-Seal Multi-Purpose One Step Permanent Coolant Leak Repair.
When it comes to the drawbacks, Bar’s Leaks requires some waiting time up to 20 minutes, and you might need to buy a huge amount to save on price.
- ATP AT-205 RE-Seal Stops Leak
The third product on our list is coming from ATP. You can use this product on different engines, including both gasoline and diesel engines.
Not only can you apply it to the cooling system, but you can also use it to seal cracks in the power steering, the transmission, and other systems in your vehicle.
On the other hand, ATP might not be the best cooling system repair product, as many people reported seeing the leaks multiple times after using this product.
The product also doesn’t rubber; thus, it might not be very effective for plastic.
- Other products:
- Bar's Leaks 1196 Radiator Stop Leak
- GUNK Aluminum Cooling System Stop Leak
- AlumAseal Radiator Stop Leak Powder Blister Card
- Prestone AS145 Radiator Sealer Stop Leak
- J-B Weld DS-114 Radiator Stop Leak
- Liqui Moly Radiator Stop Leak
Apply the product by pouring it inside the radiator
Once you decided on the type of cooling system repair product that fits your leaks severity, budget, and efficiency, you are ready to apply the product to your radiator.
Usually, the product provides more detailed instructions about applying it and leaving it for some time.
Locate your vehicle’s radiator’s cap and pour the required amount of cooling system repair product.
If you don’t know where the radiator is located, that’s fine; you can refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual for more detailed instructions. If you don’t have a copy of your manual, you can request a hard copy from your professional mechanic or download a soft copy from the internet.
As you apply the cooling system repair product, make sure not to spill or drain out any existing coolants.
Top off your radiator’s fluid
Before starting your engine, make sure that you have the required amount of coolant in the system.
Usually, when you leak, the coolant level drops depending on the leak’s severity.
Therefore, after applying the cooling system repair, measure the coolant level, and ensure its level is between the two marks of minimum and maximum allowed coolant level by the manufacturer.
If you noticed that you need more coolant, which is usually the case, top off your coolant till the required mark.
Get your engine going
Allow your engine to warm up and run for between five to ten minutes. This way, the cooling system repair product can circulate the system and fill any gaps or cracks to ensure complete sealing.
Measure your coolant’s level
After running the engine, you need to top it off using the premixed antifreeze and water (50% antifreeze to 50% water).
Remember, never work on the cooling system before allowing the engine to cool down since everything can be hot. This way, you prevent getting yourself at risk of injuries due to hot liquid.
Let your vehicle settle overnight
While many of the cooling system repair products might say “instant,” automotive experts recommend allowing the vehicle to sit for about 24 hours before driving the vehicle as normal.
This way, you let the cooling system repair product seals all cracks completely, and you don’t need to worry about dealing with leaks, assuming you have one of the good products that are not expected to leak after use.
How much does a cooling system repair cost?
Depending on the quality of the cooling system repair product, the price varies as follows:
- The cheapest products range from $5 to $35. Within this price range, you get about 12 ounces of actual cooling system repair products.
- The higher prices products go from $35 and up. These products usually come in larger containers. Several drivers recommend buying a larger container in cases of emergencies.
What are the main benefits of cooling system repair products?
When applying a cooling system repair product to your vehicle, you don’t only fix the leaks; there are additional benefits your vehicle gains right after you pour the product, including:
Preventing a complete engine failure
When you apply the cooling system repair, you reduce coolant internal and external leaks.
As you maintain the coolant inside the cooling system and prevent a significant reduction in its level, this way, you are maintaining the engine.
This is because the engine requires a certain amount of coolant to cool it down as it gets hot. Without this certain amount, the engine can get self-destructed due to overheating.
Taking action and solving leaks issues in your cooling system ensures that you will not face issues as you drive on the road.
Your engine will have what it needs when it comes to coolant amounts, and there is almost no risk of overheating.
Enhancing the overall performance of your vehicle
Even if your cooling system has a small leak, it can affect the overall vehicle performance in the long run.
A small leak can expand and evolve into a larger leak. It can also wear out and affect the surrounding parts of your radiator or cooling system.
A significant drop in repair costs
Repairing a cooling system leak is one of the very expensive jobs that your vehicle might need.
This is because it requires a lot of time and effort from professional mechanics. If they don’t know where the leak source is, things can get more challenging and complicated.
Using a cooling system repair, you can take care of the problem by yourself for the lowest price. This way, you cut the labor cost and use a relatively cheap product to repair any leaks.
Plus, you don’t need to worry about locating the leak source because the product runs through the entire system and seals all cracks, even the very small ones that might grow shortly.
Protecting existing seals
Over time of use, even the existing seals that do not have cracks yet might face wear and tear.
As you add some of the cooling system repair products, you help revitalize these old hardened seals and prevent them from breaking in the long run.
What are the different types of cooling system repair products?
There are usually two types of cooling system repair products, including:
Tablets cooling system repair products
These are not the most common type of cooling system repair products. But, you might come across some tablet that dissolves in the coolant liquid.
The tablets work only as your engine’s temperature increases causing the tablets small particles to burn out and seal any cracks in the cooling system.
Liquid cooling system repair products
This is the most common type of cooling system repair products.
This liquid moves quickly without a lot of friction through the cooling system due to the low viscosity.
Usually, liquid products create thicker fills and reduce corrosion and grime in the cooling system.
Dealing with coolant leaks is one of the most complicated issues that you never want to ignore. This is because your engine requires a certain level of coolant to cool it down as it overheats.
Without that amount of coolant, your engine can get destroyed quickly. Repairing leaks can be very time consuming, challenging, and requires a lot of money.
Luckily, some cheaper and simpler repairs can be effective on smaller cracks in the cooling system.
These products are known as “cooling system repair” products. Some of the biggest names in the cooling system repair products are K-Seal Multi-purpose One Step Permanent Coolant Leak Repair, Bar’s Leaks Liquid Aluminum Stop Leak, and ATP AT-205 Re-Seal Stops Leak.
Choosing between your products depends on your vehicle’s leaks severity, your budget, and the timeline you would like the repair to last.
Cooling system repairs instructions are very simple. All you need to do is locate the radiator, apply the product, top off your coolant to the optimum level, and allow your vehicle to set overnight.